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BPA lowers average power rates for fiscal years 2022-2023 - 07/28/21

PR 11-21                                                                     

BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 28, 2021
CONTACT: Doug Johnson, 503-713-7658, or Maryam Habibi, 971-226-6073
or 503-230-5131

 

BPA lowers average power rates for fiscal years 2022-2023
BPA sets rates for power and transmission and makes changes to its tariff 
that will enable a future decision on potentially joining an energy imbalance market 

 

Portland, Oregon – The Bonneville Power Administration will decrease power rates by an average of 2.5% and slashed its proposed transmission rate increase in half to an average of 6.1%. The new rates were announced as BPA released the final record of decision for its BP-22 power and transmission rate case as well as the TC-22 tariff proceeding.

The TC-22 tariff proceeding adopted new language in BPA’s open access transmission tariff that will enable the power marketer to participate in the Western Energy Imbalance Market if BPA chooses to do so. The decision of whether to join the Western EIM is a separate process outside of the TC-22 proceeding and is anticipated to be made by the end of the fiscal year.

Under the settlement adopted by the BP-22 Record of Decision, the firm power tier 1 rates will decrease by 2.5% for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Looking back over the previous decade, BP-22 will cap a 10-year period during which BPA’s power rate trajectory increased by less than 2 percent annually, which is in line with historical inflation rates. 

“Rates that have matched inflation – not just in a single rate case, but over a sustained period – is proof of BPA’s commitment to bending the cost curve and driving down rate pressures on our power rates,” said BPA Administrator John Hairston. “Today’s announcement demonstrates we are financially strong, competitive and responsive to our customers’ needs.” 

With Transmission, the settlement provided for a 6.1% average effective rate increase across the rate period – a number roughly half of what was proposed in the BP-22 Initial Proposal.

“We’ve landed in a spot where BPA will be able to continue to keep its transmission commitments and re-invest in the value of BPA’s transmission infrastructure in a fiscally sound and responsible manner,” Hairston said.

Beyond rates, the BP-22 Record of Decision also establishes revenue financing for up to $40 million for both the Power and Transmission business lines. This financing will allow BPA to issue less debt and decrease upward rate pressures in subsequent rate cases. The ROD also established the implementation of the Short-Distance Discount in the point-to-point Transmission rate and addressed the equitable treatment of fish and wildlife costs.

As part of the settlement, BPA has committed to holding workshops on various topics of interest to customers, including revenue financing, EIM costs and benefits, balancing services, the Eastern Intertie, and transmission losses.

TC-22 changes to tariff enable potential EIM participation

The TC-22 tariff proceeding updated language in BPA’s tariff, including addressing the terms and conditions that will apply to transmission service if BPA decides to participate in the Western Energy Imbalance Market. The adoption of this language enables the potential participation of BPA in the Western EIM without committing BPA to that path.  

The TC-22 proceeding also addressed Southern Intertie studies, transmission planning process, real power loss return, the removal of an exception for designation of Seller’s Choice agreements, ministerial edits to service agreement templates, generator interconnection procedures and requirements, and credit standards.

“We appreciate the work customers and stakeholders did with us during the tariff case,” said Hairston. “Confronting and solving these issues demonstrates that BPA, its customers and the region benefit from a tariff designed by the Northwest for the Northwest.”

The changes captured by the final RODs for BP-22 and TC-22 will be effective October 1. Specific to rates, BPA will file the case with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, requesting interim approval to start on that date while awaiting final FERC approval. 

BPA initiated both the BP-22 power and transmission rate case and the TC-22 proceeding in December 2020. The final RODs as well as Information on meetings and publications are available on the BP-22 rate case website and the TC-22 proceeding website.

 

About BPA

The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale, carbon-free hydropower from 31 federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. It also markets the output of the region’s only nuclear plant. BPA delivers this power to more than 140 Northwest electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations, and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers. In all, BPA provides nearly a third of the power generated in the Northwest. To mitigate the impacts of the federal dams, BPA implements a fish and wildlife program that includes working with its partners to make the federal dams safer for fish passage. It also pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain safe, affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov 

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Lower Snake River dams help region power through recent heatwave - 07/22/21

Portland, Oregon – During the late June heatwave, the four dams on the lower Snake River provided much-needed energy, balancing and contingency reserves, and Ice Harbor dam on the lower Snake River played a key role in keeping the lights on in the Tri-Cities area in eastern Washington. Without these four dams, powering through the heatwave could have been much more expensive and operationally challenging. 

“This is another example of the value these facilities provide the region from a clean energy perspective,” said Administrator John Hairston. “As the region continues to discuss the future of these facilities, we believe it is important to provide data and information about their performance as a solid foundation for discussions about the future of these four dynamic dams that provide carbon-free electricity and are important assets to mitigating the impacts of climate change.”

Power and Reserves provision

As the entire Northwest experienced record or near-record temperatures and record energy demand in parts of the region between June 25 and 30, BPA was able to meet high summer demand through careful power and transmission planning. BPA also canceled planned transmission maintenance to ensure high electricity flows would not cause congestion, which can lead to cascading outages across the region and the west.

At the four lower Snake River dams, operators ensured river flows were at or above minimum levels for juvenile fish migration. This meant the operation of the dams on the lower Snake River would fill each project overnight so there was enough water for fish and power production during the peak electricity consumption hours of the day.

For the duration of the heatwave, electrical generation on the four Snake River dams ranged between 439 and 1,009 megawatts. For perspective, the average consumption of the City of Seattle is approximately 1,000 MW. However, the four dams did much more. To be prepared for an emergency, BPA must have the ability to call on power reserves to ensure it can keep the lights on. For example, in the event that generators on the grid go out of service unexpectedly, other generators must be available to increase their power output instantaneously to ensure grid stability. The dams also provided balancing reserves to move up and down to adjust for generators that can stray from their energy schedules. As the region adds more intermittent renewable energy to mitigate climate change, these balancing reserves are becoming even more important. 

Over this five-day heatwave, BPA transferred some reserve requirements to the four lower Snake River dams. At times, these four dams held 15% of BPA’s total required reserves, peaking at 220 MW. At their highest, these dams provided 1,118 MW of combined energy production and reserve capacity. 

Ice Harbor relieves Tri-Cities transmission capacity issue

Ice Harbor dam played a key role in keeping the lights on in the Tri-Cities area during last month’s intense heat. Had Ice Harbor not been generating, it is likely BPA would have had to work with local customers to shift loads, which can take time and require some power outages or have rolling blackouts in selected areas in the Tri-Cities to protect the system from wider, cascading outages.

“BPA relies on Ice Harbor to relieve stress on our transmission system in the Tri-Cities area,” said Vice President of Transmission Operations Michelle Cathcart. “During the recent heatwave, Ice Harbor provided voltage stabilization and helped increase the amount of energy our system could provide to parts of the Tri-Cities.”

Post-heatwave analysis by BPA transmission engineers indicates, if Ice Harbor had not been generating, an unplanned loss of one of the key transformer banks would have caused a System Operating Limit exceedance. Also, the loss of a different key transformer bank would have pushed a facility to 98% of its capacity. While BPA did not have to work with customers to implement rolling blackouts, that may not have been the case if Ice Harbor were offline.

“If not for Ice Harbor, we would have been scrambling with customers to move loads around to avoid putting customers in the dark,” said Cathcart. “Given the amount of work done to avoid rotating blackouts with Ice Harbor in service last week, it’s hard to imagine getting enough additional relief from moving loads around to keep the lights on everywhere with the plant offline.”

. BPA markets the power from the lower Snake River dams and 27 other federal dams across the Northwest. The four federal dams on the lower Snake River have long been discussed for breaching or removal to help several runs of salmon and steelhead recover. In addition to delivering affordable and reliable carbon-free renewable, and providing critical support for the region’s high-voltage transmission system, these dams feature state-of-the art fish passage technology, and contribute to the region’s economy by supporting irrigation, navigation and recreation. 

The Tri-Cities of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland are at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia rivers.

About BPA

The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale, carbon-free hydropower from 31 federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. It also markets the output of the region’s only nuclear plant. BPA delivers this power to more than 140 Northwest electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations, and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers. In all, BPA provides nearly a third of the power generated in the Northwest. To mitigate the impacts of the federal dams, BPA implements a fish and wildlife program that includes working with its partners to make the federal dams safer for fish passage. It also pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain safe, affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest. 

Marcus Harris, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Marcus Harris, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
BPA names Marcus Harris long-term acting chief financial officer - 07/14/21

PR 09-21                                                                                                                          BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION
                                                                                                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 14, 2021
                                                                                                                                           CONTACT: Maryam Habibi, 503-230-4413
                                                                                                                                                                                    or 503-230-5131

BPA names Marcus Harris long-term acting chief financial officer

Portland, Oregon – The Bonneville Power Administration has appointed Marcus Harris as acting executive vice president and chief financial officer starting July 18. As CFO, Harris will oversee BPA's debt management program, accounting, cash management, and budgeting for BPA’s $1 billion total capital budget and $4.3 billion total expense budget.

Harris is currently the deputy chief operating officer, a position he has held since July 2020. He will serve as acting CFO while BPA’s permanent CFO, Michelle Manary, serves a detail with the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity.

“Marcus brings a decade of experience with BPA’s finances to this position,” said Administrator and CEO John Hairston. “I’m thankful we can lean on his experience while Michelle supports the Department of Energy.”

In May, DOE recruited Manary to serve in a two-year detail as deputy assistant secretary for the Energy Resilience Division, where she is helping lead the department’s focus on transmission infrastructure policy issues in support of national clean energy objectives.

Harris started at BPA in 2009 as a student trainee within Finance before taking a full-time position as a financial analyst. He later served in management roles in the Treasury and Budget organizations within Finance, including as the Budget Officer and Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis. He also led the development of BPA's 2018 Financial Plan, a key component of BPA's 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.

“I am excited to return to Finance and leverage the strong skillsets of the workforce to further build cost transparency and cost discipline across BPA,” said Harris. “I’m looking forward to partnering with our customers and stakeholders as we refresh elements of the Financial Plan to maintain and build on the agency’s financial strength,” said Harris.

As the deputy chief operating officer, Harris was responsible for leading critical cross-organizational initiatives including program planning, strategic cost management and developing capital performance metrics and was responsible for the oversight of Power Services; Transmission Services; Environment, Fish and Wildlife; Customer Support Services; and the Business Transformation Office.

Harris has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Vanguard University of Southern California and graduated summa cum laude from Willamette University with a master’s in business administration.

About BPA

The Bonneville Power Administration, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is a nonprofit federal power marketer that sells wholesale, carbon-free hydropower from 31 federal dams in the Columbia River Basin. It also markets the output of the region’s only nuclear plant. BPA delivers this power to more than 140 Northwest electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also owns and operates more than 15,000 circuit miles of high-voltage power lines and 261 substations, and provides transmission service to more than 300 customers. In all, BPA provides nearly a third of the power generated in the Northwest. To mitigate the impacts of the federal dams, BPA implements a fish and wildlife program that includes working with its partners to make the federal dams safer for fish passage. It also pursues cost-effective energy savings and operational solutions that help maintain safe, affordable, reliable electric power for the Northwest. www.bpa.gov  

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